Mathew Barzal locked in for next three years signals Islanders’ Cup window has opened
The Islanders and Mathew Barzal finally came to terms on a new deal yesterday, thus signaling the organization’s window to win a Stanley Cup in the near future is officially open.
Barzal, 23, agreed to a three-year contract worth $21M.
Mathew Barzal signs deal with Islanders
There was speculation for weeks that he and his agent J.P. Barry were looking for a long-term deal — TSN’s Darren Dreger’s confirmed it yesterday as did Barzal to the media he would have signed for a higher number of years — but the ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic and the Isles’ cap situation wouldn’t allow it, leading to the agreement of a bridge deal. Barzal had not participated in the first few days of training camp as negotiations continued but was still skating on his own with a few retired teammates, Johnny Boychuk and Dennis Seidenberg, and forward Tom Kuhnhackl who is on a PTO with the organization.
“The whole negotiation was totally respectable on both sides,” Barzal told reporters yesterday after returning to the ice with the rest of the team.”It’s pretty clear I love it on the Island. I love being here — this is a fun place to be and a fun place to play. None of those thoughts ever started to sink in.
“I would have had no problem signing a long-term deal. (The pandemic/flat cap) is nothing my agent, Lou or the league has ever had to deal with. Both sides came to a deal we’re happy on, you turn the page and the next three years we try to win a Stanley Cup.”
Islanders now looking to get back into the playoffs
With his situation now in the rearview mirror, the Islanders as an organization have put themselves in a prime position to try and bring a fifth Cup to Long Island in the near future with Barzal as the centerpiece. They’ve built a sustainable program under g.m. Lou Lamoriello and head coach Barry Trotz that has already translated to success — a second-round appearance in 2018-19 and Eastern Conference Finals appearance this past summer. Several of their most important pieces are in place with a few others possibly on their way up to the big club soon. And the defensive corps they’ve assembled has already proven to be one of the best in the league.
Might they need one more piece (scoring winger) to solve their title puzzle? Maybe. But the Isles are close.
“I think for the team, the same thing goes, we were close last year, we had a taste of how close we can get to playing in a Stanley Cup Final,” Barzal also said. “I think that it didn’t sit well with us afterward.”
Barzal still getting better
Barzal himself hasn’t even scratched the surface of how good he can be. There are still parts of his game that he can grow. He even alluded to it yesterday when he said consistency will now be the most crucial part of his game with his contract.
Furthermore, this deal will only take him to age 26, still considered young in today’s NHL and not even close to hitting his prime. That’s just another added bonus for how fantastic this deal was for both the team and the player.
The Isles have been trending in the right direction for a while now. They will soon open the doors to their new state-of-the-art home, UBS Arena, in October. Barzal will be front and center of it all. He’s their star and the face of the franchise.
He’s also now assured to be here for the next three seasons and hopefully beyond that once his deal expires. And with that, the chances of the Islanders lifting the silver chalice are at their highest they’ve been in over 35 years.
The Isles’ season begins Thursday against the Rangers at MSG. But their championship window as it means to their future is now opened.
Let the fun begin.